Coomer, Riddle awarded Dr. Perry Memorial Scholarship

Published 6:54 pm Thursday, June 1, 2017

The East Tennessee Foundation announced the 2017 recipients of the Dr. E. E. Perry Memorial Scholarship during a special reception Thursday morning.

This year’s recipients are Christopher “Bailey” Coomer and Allison Nicole Riddle. Each will receive a $10,000 per year scholarship for the next four years. In order to maintain the scholarship, Coomer and Riddle will have to maintain a 3.0 grade point average while attending an accredited college or university in Tennessee full-time as well as major in a field related to math, science, engineering, or medicine.

During the reception on Thursday, local attorney Bill Hampton, who serves on the Board of the East Tennessee Foundation, spoke about Perry and why he created the scholarship through his will.

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“Ed grew up poor in Stoney Creek. He struggled going to medical school,” Hampton said. “He knew the value of a good education.”

Hampton described Perry as “a man of intelligence” and spoke of his lifetime desire to continue learning.

Each year, two students graduating high school in Carter County are selected to receive the Dr. E. E. Perry Memorial Scholarship. This is the second year the scholarship has been awarded.

“It was very competitive,” said Beth Heller, Director of Scholarship Programs for the East Tennessee Foundation. “We had a lot of applications. It was really difficult.”

Coomer is a 2017 graduate of Happy Valley High School. This fall he will be attending the University of Tennessee Knoxville where he will major in chemistry and playing in The  Pride of the Southland Marching Band.

While in high school, Coomer was a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the Chess Club, and participated in the school’s Scholar Bowl Team. He was also a member of the Happy Valley Marching Band and was selected to play in the East Tennessee State University and Carter County Honor Bands.

In addition to his extracurricular school activities, Coomer volunteered with the ETSU Chemistry Department setting up labs, restocking chemicals, and learning a great deal about chemistry in the process.

Coomer said his experiences have helped prepare him for college and his career after. He said being in the band has taught him that “hard work and dedication are a key to success in life.”

Riddle is a 2017 graduate of Elizabethton High School. This fall she will be attending Milligan College to prepare for a career teaching middle school math.

While in high school, Riddle served on the Student Government Association Executive Board, played on the varsity softball team for three years, participated in the Mountain Club, and was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In addition to her extracurricular school activities, Riddle also volunteered with the Salvation Army, served as a student leader in her church, and assisted with summer softball camps for local girls in the community.

Riddle said her experiences have helped build a desire to make a positive impact in her community. “I just hope by doing service projects, I can help change one person’s life,” she said.